Author Archive | frank

Merckxy Christmas and a Coppi New Year

Merckxy Christmas

by / / 86 posts

To each and every one of you in our community, we’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your continued support and involvement in our community. Velominati is a project born of passion more than planning, and the fact that we’ve managed to gain your support means the world to us; over the years I’ve come…

The stones bring out the best in certain types of riders.

Riding Beautifully Ugly

by / / 17 posts

The cobbles are not for everyone. Peter van Petegem said it best, that you have to really love the stones to be good at them. Much like climbing, they demand that the rider forge a close relationship with a special kind of pain – one that is self-inflicted and inspires you to inflict more. I knew I…

This cat got skills

On Rule #43: Shaming the Sensei

by / / 53 posts

I think it would be hard for anyone to make the case that Eddy Merckx was Roger de Vlaeminck’s Cycling Sensei, but I think we can all agree that De Vlaeminck was a student of Merckx, if only a student of his domination. But every student at some point becomes the master, and the driven student will always challenge…

Does this twat make me look fat?

Anatomy of a Photo: Michelin Man

by / / 41 posts

I’m trying my best to stay thin this winter, but I’m nowhere near where I was when it was warm and the days were long. I keep flashing back to the last time I felt genuinely skinny and declared to myself, “This time, I’ll keep it off!” This photo is a metaphor. Winter me is on the right,…

My only remaining hub with loose ball bearings.

In Memoriam: Loose Ball Bearings

by / / 113 posts

The darker months bring out the macabre in each of us; for Gianni it was the extinction of his beloved Park Tool adjustable clamp. For me, I found myself mourning the fact that I recently purchased a headset press. Ignoring the fact that a Velominatus of my stature didn’t already own one, the mourn behind…

Spinal Tap Black

The Dark Side

by / / 184 posts

White is a troublesome color; hard to keep clean. I have a white dress shirt that I never wear because even if I manage not to spill on the front of it, the cuffs and collar will look crap by the end of the day regardless. I mean, I can keep from eating something all…

Not for the faint hearted: the Winter Cycling Cap.

Experts Only: The Winter Cycling Cap

by / / 98 posts

We just finished a thorough examination of the Cyclist’s marquee accoutrement, the Cycling Cap. Today’s lesson is about the Cycling Cap’s red-headed step brother, the Winter Cycling Cap. This is a toque born of necessity; the thin cotton cap is nowhere near warm enough for the demands of the Flemish winter training season. Form should follow function,…

Gimmeeawheel!!!! I have a flat!

On the Road Again: Keepers Tour 2015

by / / 66 posts

We want to look like Pros, sure, but what we’re really after is feeling Pro. All the aesthetics are just a tool we use to fuel the fickle internal combustion engine of Morale. In the end, there is little that will make you feel Pro more than clattering along a stretch of cobbles in a small group;…

The last masters of the Cycling cap passed into the night at the close of the 20th cetnury

Les Maîtres de la Casquette

by / / 130 posts

It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here. Rule #5, Rule #9, Rule #10; every rider in this frame Looks Fantastic (most other Rules). The riders are in short sleeves and shorts while the public apparently has scavenged materials from rubbish bins and the local grain elevator in a very visually unpleasant…

The best tires money can buy: FMB.

The Hum

by / / 148 posts

One of the things that strikes me most about the English is they don’t appear to have developed any sort of “inner dialog”. It seems anything that passes through the brain is parlayed directly to the tongue; if the thought being expressed is an insult to you, it will generally include a query for confirmation: “You’re not…

Pantani: Undisputable folk hero.

The Hero and the Villain

by / / 90 posts

I’m not saying I’m Batman; if I was Batman it would be a foolish thing to admit to and if I wasn’t Batman it would be a foolish thing to claim to be. What is true, however, is that Batman is pretty cool and it would probably be pretty cool to be a cool dude like Batman. It bears mentioning,…

The road to Chapman Peak south from Cape Town, South Africa.

Places to Ride: Cape Town, South Africa

by / / 29 posts

I’ve never been to Africa before, although I’m not sure Cape Town counts as “Africa”. One thing I noticed is that everyone here is very skinny. I also noticed that the meal proportions served at restaurants are very modest. That shows the difference between prevention and treatment when dealing with obesity; whereas in the United…

Hinault, Le Blaireau

Truth and Fiction

by / / 67 posts

There is nothing more disappointing than discovering the truth behind a myth or spotting the mortal behind a legend. This is why I make a point never to do any research or in any other way attempt to validate my assumptions when evaluating a situation; mystery that feels like a fact and sounds like a fact is better than an actual fact. Truth, like sex,…

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Look Pro: Going Belgian Style

by / / 71 posts

To keep chickens is to walk a path towards introspection. From the songs they sing after laying an egg (which I assume is “chicken” for “I’m Every Woman“) to the sheer glee they show when they find a worm in the mud, chickens provide a perfect example of living life in and for the moment. The…

Vermont in Autumn. Photo via @LazyJackFlash.

(Re)Discovery

by / / 37 posts

I’ve lost a lot of things that were, at some point or another, dear to me. At times, I’ve even cast them away deliberately, either because of a nurtured indifference or an irrational or impulsive dislike. Regret is an easy emotion to find in reflection, it lays right at the surface and provides us with a quick…

ChateauneufduPape

The Road Less Travelled

by / / 85 posts

I love wine. I mean, I like beer and scotch and can’t resist ordering a Vesper whenever I pretend to be a gentleman spy, but I love wine. As a semi-professional drinker, the biggest worry I have is that should my as-yet undiagnosed problem with alcohol become a diagnosed problem with alcohol, I’d have to stop drinking wine. A full…

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The Hard Way

by / / 170 posts

Doing things the hard way is a luxury. It says to the world that we’ve beat evolution; intelligence is no match for technology and economy is no match for indulgence. We need only step a bit outside our bubble to realize the scale of the illusion, but nevertheless it has become reality for many of us who live our…

After the leaves have fallen. Photo: Pedale.Forchetta

Velominati Super Prestige: Giro di Lombardia 2014

by / / 124 posts

I’m getting too old and cranky for all this race schedule changing. I know they already did this last year and presumably I had the same gripings then, but Lombardia is supposed to close out the season and I’m downright angry that Paris-Tours is closing out the books now; it only seems right that one of the…

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The Goalden Fleece

by / / 61 posts

Happy living in our stressful lives is all about organization. For instance, I like to sort the tasks first by priority and then group tasks of equal priority into buckets of minor priorities. Software developers creatively call this approach to organization a “bucket sort”. This helps break down what appears to be an insurmountable mess of work…

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Velominati Super Prestige: The Men’s Elite Road Race

by / / 180 posts

You can only spend so much time with the Schlecks before you start talking like them, and the fabulous Fabs seems to have crossed the threshold. I’ve heard more complaining from him this season than I have talk about pushing harder on the pedals or going steady up with more speed or going full gas like everyone…

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